Stefania Sigurdson-Forbes returns to join host Jack Monson on Social Geek Radio share best practices in mapping out your customer’s journey. She includes tips on building personas, walking through the map, and using the process as a team-building process that should mirror the customer, not the brand! Listen Now at Social Geek Radio.
Several food safety scares in the 1990s, prompted franchisors across the world to pay more attention to better compliance. During this time, Sonic’s Chris Galuskin helped roll out a food safety initiative that was so successful, that health safety authorities in some regions allowed crew members to skip wearing gloves. We talked to Chris about the “20/20 rule” that he helped Sonic implement, and how people today could roll out something similar.
What was your role at Sonic and what is it today?
Chris: “At the time I was a Franchise Consultant and it was the greatest job that I ever had. Sonic is a great company and I had a lot of fun. I eventually wound up becoming a Director of Operations. Later, I worked for franchisee out of Louisiana as a Director of Operations. Today I do some consulting and connect with people across my ever-growing network.”
What interested you initially in the franchising community?
Chris: “I just love it. You’re dealing with people who are entrepreneurs – they are always thinking outside the box. I love seeing people become successful, especially when they either use your idea entirely, or they adapt bits and pieces from it. Sometimes it is about helping them see what is right in front of them and that look in their face of “wow, I didn’t even know that”. Those things are really energizing for me.”
Thinking back to that time, of the late 90s, what prompted the renewed interest at Sonic about Food Safety?
Chris: “We had this initiative, which was a national drive, and we really adopted it and made it our own. That was the ServSafe testing and certification. We really ran with it and our passion was to get everybody that was running a shift in the brand was to be ServSafe Certified.
“The first thing was to get our internal staff to be certified and train others, so it was a “train the trainer” model. That’s what really drove our interest and we started to really dig down deep into what Food Safety really was, and what that meant to us. We wanted to put a stamp on the brand. “
According to the ServSafe website, “the ServSafe Food Safety Training program leads the way in providing current and comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry. More than 4 million foodservice professionals have been certified through the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Exam, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Conference for Food Protection (CFP). “
Stef: How would you describe your program?
Chris: “The program was called the “20/20 rule” which was where the company empowered the franchisees and their staff to wash their hands every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. It caught on with our franchise network and their teams. We would set a timer and we would put people in on the schedule and we would write a number or a letter next to that name. Participants knew that when the bell went off for group “A”, they washed your hands. We tried to pattern it around the fact that everyone could physically wash their hands every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
“That program became so popular with the local health departments in some counties that they allowed us not to use gloves because we were washing our hands continuously. They were so impressed with it that we became the “poster child” for food safety.”
At that time, how many locations did Sonic have?
Chris: “When we began, we were probably just short of 1,000 units. By the time I left, I physically opened the 2,500th unit on the outskirts of Jackson Mississippi. It was a time of dramatic growth.”
How did you communicate that program and roll it out in a way that it worked at so many locations?
Chris: “One of the great things about Sonic is that they communicated very well. Through our ServSafe training, we physically had 75-80% of the brand rotating through this program. It was a topic discussion in every class we had. That in-turn got back to the unit-level and they shared that information as well.
“We also challenged them to share what the impact was for their people and we wanted them to communicate that back to us. This was shared in some of our publications that we have within the system.”
When you mentioned the communications, is that something that GMs of the restaurant would see, or did you have a publication that went out the front-line staff?
Chris: “The GMs would get to see it, and they would post it on their communication boards. We had small posters that were put up next to the hand-washing stations that communicated that to front-line staff as well.”
What challenges did you have in terms of the program?
Chris: “Any time that you are dealing with humans, they always “buck”. They think it is different and they resist the change. But some of those challenges are good because some people come up with creative ideas to complete their tasks. People who are like that and are very curious and eventually they see the results for themselves. They understand why it works.
“Once you get enough buy-in, it becomes contagious. That was one of the things that Sonic was so great at, and still is today. They’re a very happy-go-lucky culture. It is a finesse that reflects in their commercials. They do this Dr. Pepper Sonic Games where they all come together and compete.
“If you are communicating, repeating, enforcing and following up, things become culture. It is part of who you are. It is in your DNA. That particular program eventually became their mantra for food safety.”
Do you think that having that happy-go-lucky culture helped with trust between the franchisor and the franchisee?
Chris: “That is one of the reasons why I loved working for Sonic. They had a sense of allowing you to be empowered for the change in the brand. Your voice meant something. Patty Moore was the President at the time; she was very influential in instilling that type of culture. She was able to talk to the dishwasher and the CEO in the same breath – she connected people. It is a very humble brand. “
If someone was to do something similar, what advice would you give them based on your experience in this program?
Chris: When we did the program, it was labor intensive. It was the most untechnical application that you could imagine, using pencil, paper and egg timers. Today “there is an app for that”. Also – don’t be afraid to ask for help. That is my experience with networking and asking questions. You will be surprised by the answers that you get!
For every Battle Tested Strategy, we do a series of “fun” questions. Enjoy!
What new behavior or habit adopted in the past 5 years has most positively impacted your life?
Chris: “Connecting with people who are like-minded – and it does not have be foodservice or retail. It is finding out what makes them tick and what drives them to do what they do. I think if you get a tidbit of that information, it makes you better. It becomes a “brain rolodex”; it is in there somewhere. You can pull back that information and remember “I talked to someone the other day.””
What is a purchase less than $100 that has most improved your life?
Chris: “A couple of things: One is having the right cord for the right technology. It is priceless, and it is only $10. I am an Apple user and integrating it with other things can be excruciating. The other purchase is getting the best router that you can find. I don’t know if it is because I have become impatient with technology, or because my processes are dragging so much more broadband. But, man I love my router!”
What would you put on a billboard?
Chris: “Learn something new today.”
What book have you gifted the most to other people.
Chris: “It is Andie Andrews The Travelers Gift. It is the best read I have ever had – I literally get goosebumps when listening to the audio version.”
Minimum wage is going up across many regions across North America and around the world. While many businesses plan to simply pass those increased costs to the customers, according to polls, others are looking to get more efficient. While reducing the labor force can be an incredibly painful decision for any entrepreneur, we have thought of an alternative. Technology can be a way to increase efficiency with the labor that your franchisees already have while maintaining their profitability if implemented effectively.
1. Optimize Shifts
Use technology to spread the shifts effectively, ensuring that your franchisees are not overstaffed or understaffed at any given time. There are tools available that analyze millions of possible schedule scenarios before selecting the right one. Instead of being a complicated task for a local manager, they have one less thing to do. Doing this at the head office level is also a great benefit for franchisees in terms of their investment in the brand.
2. Support Getting Back In the Business
For some franchisees, the wage increase means that the owner has to get more hands-on in the business themselves to keep their profit margins steady. This could be uncomfortable for those who have built a staffed business specifically because they want to have more time for things outside of work that they care about. If a franchisee has not been behind a counter or taken customer calls for a few years, this can be a big change. But, the difference is that the world has changed as well while they were away and it may give them a chance to get creative about their business.
To support them in this endeavor, you can automate some of the franchisee paperwork such as digitizing P&L collection, creating automatic polls or simplifying other processes. Also – as people are preferring asynchronous communication with shifting schedules, having “watch anytime” training or company updates is better than a live webinar.
3. Take Advantage of the Self-Serve and Mobile Revolution
Mobile has changed the way that people shop, eat and connect. For some concepts, customers may prefer to order themselves, as McDonalds has discovered or others may like a self-check-out option at the end of the meal, reducing one task for servers. As posted elsewhere, off-premise is one of the areas that is growing for restaurant, and on-demand apps such as UberEATS, DoorDash and are a big hit with the younger set. Offering your franchisees opportunities to reduce their costs using some of these self-serve options. Interestingly, many of these can happen from the customer’s own device.
4. Implement Benchmarks and Scorecards
Franchisees sometimes get the mentality attached to certain processes, or a “herd mentality” can take place, even if it is not based on evidence. One very promising trend we have seen is the greater prevalence of Unit Level Economics or EBITDA Departments. These teams look closely at the units, and what truly predicts a profitable business. Creating benchmarks based on what is working, and what is not and regularly scoring your franchisees is a fantastic way to track progress, and provide value to your network.
Are You Ready?
Are you ready to start managing minimum wage increases proactively rather than reactively? Contact us to learn about how our scorecards are helping forward-thinking franchise systems around the world.
Gino Wickman’s book, Traction, has taken the franchise world by storm. It was in a session at the International Franchise Association convention in Phoenix in 2018, and it has been the subject of countless articles by thought leaders. For example, according to Eric Stites, CEO of the Franchise Business Review as published on the Franchise.org website:
Wickman’s simple yet genius tool, Vision/Traction Organizer, will bring clarity to the key priorities of any business. Having a clear vision and a detailed plan will dramatically improve your franchisees’ success. PostNet International Franchise Corp., BrightStar Franchising LLC, Moran Family of Brands and ZOUP! Fresh Soup Co. are just a few brands using “Traction” (and companion book “Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business”) to push their businesses forward.
If you aren’t using Traction right now in your business, you may want to consider it. According to Shelly Sun, the Chairman of the International Franchise Association Executive Committee and the President of Brightstar Care as quoted in MSA Worldwide‘s profile:
For us, this means putting the right processes and people in place to enable their businesses to run smoothly without their 100% involvement. Gino Wickman’s book Traction outlines the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and the steps to help business owners get clear focus on the right people and processes that are essential to the growth and profitability of their business.
Brightstar has invited Wickman to a number of conferences and use the methodology extensively. So – the next time you are at a franchise event, look to the right then look to the left. One of them has likely read or implemented the book in their organization.
What is Traction?
EOS is a set of tools which helps businesses succeed. According to the EOS website:
EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, is a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses. Implementing EOS will help you and your leadership team get better at three things:
Vision—getting everyone in your organization 100% on the same page with where you’re going, and how you plan to get there
Traction®—instilling focus, discipline, and accountability throughout the company so that everyone executes on that vision—every day
Healthy—helping your leaders become a more cohesive, functional, healthy leadership team
Although many of these tools can be found in the curriculums of business schools, and franchisor teams may know of them, in reality, many franchisors do not have the structure of the focus to make this happen without a formal process, such as EOS.
EOS and Scorecards
At the heart of the EOS system is a series of numbers, determined by the team as most important, and tracked on a weekly basis at formalized meetings. These numbers are called a “Scorecard”. There are seven truths according to Wickman that make scorecards work:
- What gets measured gets done.
- Managing metrics saves time.
- A Scorecard gives you a pulse and the ability to predict.
- You must inspect what you expect.
- You can have accountability in a culture that is high trust and healthy.
- A Scorecard requires hard work, discipline, and consistency to manage, but it’s worth it.
- One person must own it.
Whether or not Traction is the model that you choose to follow, like so many others, do any of these “truths” resonate with you? Would having any of these truths present in your organization help?
The Automatic Scorecard
Released at the 2018 IFA conference, FranchiseBlast was pleased to offer up our custom Franchise Scorecard. Traction devotees, and “numbers people” alike were compelled by the scorecards as a way to simplify the reporting process. Contact us to learn more about how they work and how they can fit within Traction.